Jeeps were originally developed for use on Army bases with four-wheel drive that can handle rough terrain. A jeep is sometimes called a “light utility vehicle.” It’s quicker and smaller than a truck or larger utility vehicle, and most jeeps are now owned by civilians. If the word is capitalized, it’s the specific, trademarked brand of cars. Jeep was originally Army slang from the 1940s, a blending of G.P., or “general purpose vehicle.”but it didn’t mean “General Purpose.” The “G” signified a government contract vehicle and “P” indicating the 80-inch wheelbase.
Willys-Overland applied for the “Jeep” trademark in 1943, but it was not granted until 1950 because there was conflict over the origins of the name and to what vehicle it was applied first. Eventually, the “jeep” became “Jeep,” but you still see both in the dictionary. The lower case jeep has long been a generic term for any compact 4×4, and historians tend to use the lower case when referring to WWII jeeps built by Willys, Bantam, or Ford. The upper-case Jeep is the trademark and is commonly used for anything from ’45 and up. Jeep is a registered trademark of Chrysler Group LLC.
Chrysler attempted to promote awareness of its trademark with advertising campaigns using tag lines with the generic name and its trademark – ‘They invented SUV because they can’t call “them Jeep”. Clearly, this was an attempt to protect the trademark ‘Jeep’, whereas SUV is a generic term for such vehicles.